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Page added on July 30, 2006

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Plans begin for looming peak oil crisis

SALISBURY — Gas prices around $3 a gallon are making drivers grouchy. If prices rose to $4 a gallon, drivers would probably howl, maybe tossing out an incumbent politician or two in their anger.

Now imagine the implications of $10 or $20 gallons of gas … in the next 10 years.

That scenario — seemingly unlikely — is being seriously mulled by people who think the world’s natural oil supply is about to become harder than ever to convert into gasoline, oil and other petrochemicals on which the world economy depends. Devotees of this theory, called “peak oil,” are turning to local governments and community groups to start preparing for a world in which gasoline costs are triple or quadruple what they are now.

A small group of Lower Shore residents are interested in having Salisbury’s or Wicomico County’s governing councils take up the issue in symbolic resolutions, pointing toward Bloomington, Ind., as an example, where the Town Council passed a resolution this month holding that “the city of Bloomington must prepare for the inevitability of oil peak” and “supports the adoption of a global depletion protocol that will reduce petroleum use, conserving what remains.”

The movement also has a booster in Maryland Congressman Roscoe G. Bartlett, a Republican from the 6th Congressional District, who spent about an hour this February discussing the problems a dwindling world oil supply will impose on American consumers and the world from the floor of Congress. He described a time “when the age of oil is finished and there is no more oil that can be gotten without paying more for the oil than you get out of it. … What will life be like then?” He was joined by another Republican Maryland congressman, the Eastern Shore’s Wayne Gilchrest, and several colleagues in establishing a peak oil caucus.

Delmarva Now (Salisbury, MD)



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